Because getting a Russian visa in Hong Kong was so much fun, we decided to do an encore and get an Uzbek visa in Singapore. We also needed a layover between Perth and Mumbai, so 36 hours in ‘baby-Asia’ seemed like a good way to psych ourselves up for entering the belly of the beast.
After a tearful goodbye to our now beloved Perth, we landed in steamy Singapore. Since we only had 36 hours, we headed straight from the airport to the Uzbek embassy. Of course, the embassy was in a poorly lit and poorly marked building. The following hours were posted on the locked door: Tue 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm, Thur 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm. It was Thursday at 4:30 pm….
We rang the doorbell continuously for about 2 minutes until someone came on an intercom. “Do you have an appointment?” he asked. “Y-e-sss,”, I responded. He demanded my name, and after much paper shuffling finally let us into his lair. It felt like a private home with a LOT of Uzbek travel brochures. Most travel brochures carefully crop out the hordes of tourists, but the Uzbek materials intentionally show people at the sites. “See, people come here! This is normal!!!”. From what I gathered the trip will be us and about 5 miserable looking Russians.
Once inside, we told the young man at the front desk that we needed to get our visas sorted out in 36-hours. He made a show of being shocked, and said that it would take 3 days minimum. The horror!!! After about half an hour of going back and forth, we ascertained that we could get the visa immediately if we were willing to transfer an exorbitant sum to an Uzbek offshore account. We did, and the visas happened in like 20 minutes. I feel really good that Uzbekistan has such a robust vetting system.
Getting our visas was the only thing we did in Singapore. Otherwise we just held up at the fabulous Hotel Indigo and gorged on kaya toast and milk tea. After resting and acclimating to the heat, we braced for India.
First on the India itinerary- Mumbai.